David Baker, the iconic president and executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who brought a certain flair to his role informing recipients of their Hall selections, is retiring, effectively immediately.
Jim Porter, previously in charge of communications and marketing for the Canton, Ohio-based shrine, is being elevated to replace Baker, though the Hall is going to meet to discuss who is going to replace Baker with the task of informing new inductees.
Baker already is transitioning away from his day-to-day operations but intends to remain as the presenting figure for the Hall in its remaining ceremonies to honor the 2020-21 class members.
“As I approach the end of nearly eight years of service to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for someone else to have the ‘best job in the world,’” Baker said in the Hall's release, “so I can still do a few more exciting things in my professional life while also returning home to our four children, 10 grandchildren and soon-to-be great-grandson in Orange County, California, whom I’ve missed so much during my tenure at ‘The Most Inspiring Place on Earth.’”
In the release, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extensively praised Baker's impact in the Hall of Fame's top role.
“Few people combine vision, passion and dedication as completely as David Baker,” Goodell said. “In seven years as president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, David expanded the Hall’s brand nationally and footprint locally in Canton, Ohio. The growth he envisioned led to the expansion of the Hall of Fame, spread to downtown Canton and will continue to have a tremendous impact on the future of the Hall for decades to come.
“His mission to honor and support the heroes of the game will be one of his most lasting and important legacies. We are grateful for David’s many contributions and extend our utmost thanks and best wishes to Colleen and him.”
Baker helped the Hall launch the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic game, helped move the Black College Hall of Fame inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame and steered the Hall to its Centennial Class in 2020, marking the NFL's 100th year.